James Ley

The ABR Podcast 

Released every Thursday, the ABR podcast features our finest reviews, poetry, fiction, interviews, and commentary.

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Mindy Gill

Episode #78

‍Strivers and crooks

Mindy Gill on Colson Whitehead’s Harlem Shuffle

Colson Whitehead is a critically acclaimed American author of eight novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Underground Railroad (2016) and The Nickel Boys (2019). His latest work, Harlem Shuffle, set in the titular neighbourhood in the 1960s, is branded as a probing crime caper of ‘heists, shakedowns and rip-offs’. Whitehead’s previous novels are marked by nuanced commentary on race and power, yet, as Mindy Gill argues in her review, this dynamic threatens a tantalising foray into genre fiction: ‘What prevents Harlem Shuffle from being a convincing crime novel, then, is part of its broader failure: Whitehead’s reluctance to depart from rousing social messaging.’

 

   

 

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